Windstorm Review

Windstorm Review

This storm lived up to the hype, delivering a strong blow to the coast and lesser but still damaging winds inland, particularly the Puget Sound. Fellow WeatherTogether blogger Brie Hawkins of Little Bear Creek Weather lost her power in Woodinville Washington, and as of 5 pm PST, approximately 110,000 people in Western Washington had lost power, with at least 25,000 in Oregon.

Let’s start by taking a look at some of the peak gusts around the region. This map by no means includes all the stations around the area (it would be impossible to read!) and focuses on main and/or isolated stations. Click on the image to enlarge it.

24-hour peak gusts ending 4:46 pm, 11/13/2017
24-hour peak gusts ending 4:46 pm, 11/13/2017
Credit: NOAA

Just taking a look at the gust distribution, you can see that the highest gusts were near the coast and other exposed areas. Naselle Ridge gusted to 89 mph, and “Pigtail Peak” at White Pass (5,970′) saw a gust of 104 mph out of the SW at 8 AM today. Other, less exposed stations still registered some impressive gusts though, particularly along the Northern Oregon/Washington Coast, the Puget Sound Lowlands, and the Northern Interior/San Juan Islands. West Point, a headland along Puget Sound several miles north of Seattle by the Magnolia neighborhood, registered a 64 mph gust, and Kelp Reefs airport just east of the San Juan Island peaked at 87 mph with their 5 pm observation. Sea-Tac Airport registered an impressive 48 mph gust, while Portland Int’l Airport hit 37 mph.

In last night’s post, I talked about how much lightning was associated with the storm’s cold front. The cold front retained its convective nature as it made landfall, and many folks I chatted with around Western Washington and Oregon recall being awoken by strong winds and extremely heavy rain early yesterday morning. The radar image below shows the culprit!

Squall going through Seattle around 2 am
Credit: UW Atmospheric Sciences

Pressure traces at many stations showed two local minima – one being due to the approaching cold front, and the other due to the low pressure center (and associated bent-back occlusion) approaching the area. This feature is most prominent in coastal stations.

Pressure and wind speed/gusts at Westport, WA over the past 5 days. Note the two minima in the last day - one with the passage of the cold front, and the other with the approach of the center of low pressure.
Pressure and wind speed/gusts at Westport, WA over the past 5 days. Note the two minima in the last day – one with the passage of the cold front, and the other with the approach of the center of low pressure. This is a characteristic signature of extratropical cyclones – tropical systems do not have fronts and therefore do not possess this signature.
Credit: NDBC

Here’s a look at the tempest itself around noon or shortly after from NASA’s polar-orbiting TERRA satellite, which orbits much closer to the Earth than the geostationary satellites above the equator and can take much higher-resolution pictures. Note the bent-back occlusion wrapping around the center of the storm and traveling towards the coast. This was the feature that brought the highest winds to the majority of the region.

Finally, here’s a video of the fierce winds and waves at Cape Disappointment from fellow weather enthusiast Tyler Mode. Tyler takes absolutely fantastic pictures and I’m sure he’ll have more than a few studio-quality shots from his latest trek soon. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, and do yourself a favor by ordering his 2017 calendar by clicking here!

2 thoughts on “Windstorm Review

  1. My brother lives in Seattle. I’ll have to check with him to see if he lost his power. If you attended the University of Washington, you may know his wife, Dr. Rosemary Sheffield. She’s retired now but worked there quite a few years

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *